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Could someone please look at this writing and give me an idea of how to help ds?

(19 Posts)
lecce Thu 11-Apr-13 08:36:58

He is 6 (just) and in a mixed Yrs 1 & 2 class.

He is a reluctant writer (though a very strong reader) but has been inspired by his classmate who, apparantly, write at home, show it at school and get rewards - he has asked me why I don't make him write at home confused. The answer is that he rarely wants to and attempts often end in tears, despite my best efforts and his, often, ambitious ideas. But, this holiday we have tried...

The following was done in two ten minute sessions on two inconsecutive days. The bold section was the second one:

Once upon a time in the meditrainyn sea Mr geat wite shark met a man. He was hunting a shark on a ship whith anotherman. The graet wiet shark Jumd out of the water. bit the ship 30 times,ate nahs (?) of the crew whith 10 remanening. the ship was daind the end.

At other times, he is full of big ideas, but can't get them on paper. For instance, he loves history and wanted to write a 'History of Time' but, unsurprisingly, was overwhelmed by the enormity of the task he had set himself, and gave up.

I don't know how best to help him. I try and help him talk through his ideas and make suggestions but he so quickly gets frustrated that it stops being a pleasant experience.

However, he now wants to have stuff to take in and show...

Any advice would be great.

FrauMoose Thu 11-Apr-13 08:45:21

I think it s really good that he wants to write. It's a dramatic story. Over time at school he will learn a great deal about punctuation, sentence structure, spelling etc. But there is plenty of time. It's really ambitious and he is using good vocabulary.

Small children soon lose interest in any task.

I think the main thing is to praise what they've done, and say they can always go back to things later if they want. Or start something new. Lots of grown-up writers begin stories and get stuck, and have to take a break.

Periwinkle007 Thu 11-Apr-13 09:09:35

if he has lots of ideas but can't get them down quickly enough could you show him how to make a short list of reminders of his ideas. then he can take his time doing the actual writing when he wants to but the ideas are all recorded.

Lilliana Thu 11-Apr-13 09:21:19

What about making a story board/ comic strip? Pictures to organise and remind him of his ideas and a sentence under each.

FrauMoose Thu 11-Apr-13 09:30:49

Actually he doesn't have to be like his friend. Maybe he's good at different things and can be rewarded in other ways...........

LuckyLuckyMe Thu 11-Apr-13 09:38:53

I think what he has written is great for a just 6 year old. I wouldn't make writing, at his age, too much of a big deal. It might be counterproductive.

chrome100 Thu 11-Apr-13 12:43:59

Sorry, no advice but I chuckled at him wanting to write "A History of Time" - quite an ambitious little boy you have!

Servalan Thu 11-Apr-13 12:53:54

It looks like he's doing great. If he has lots of big ideas but finds getting them written down overwhelming at the moment, how about tape recording him making up stories? Once they're down like that, then his ideas are there and putting them to paper (if he still wants to do that) might be less stressful?

Scoobyblue Thu 11-Apr-13 13:04:41

It helped my son to divide the story into beginning, middle and end. Beginning is setting the scene, describing characters, introduction. Middle is high drama - something happens. End is what happens after the drama - good, bad, surprise, whatever. Put a couple of sentences in each section and you've got a story. As he gets more confident, make each section three or four sentences - or make the drama in the middle a little longer. Hope that helps.

Koyangwuti Thu 11-Apr-13 13:12:51

I agree with the idea that he does not have to be like his friend. While they are young kids develop in very different areas at very different times. On the other hand, if this is something he wants to do, then by all means encourage it and nurture it. Competition can be a positive thing so long as things are kept in perspective and feelings of malice are avoided.

snice Thu 11-Apr-13 13:30:01

I would Google ks1 storyboards and find something about a subject he's interested in then get him to do something for each picture with yr help.
If he likes it you can make yr own comic strips using Google images

bibbetybobbityboo Thu 11-Apr-13 13:45:00

Firstly he is very young and if that is his totally independant writing i think he has done a great job. He is clearly using his phonic knowledge well although not always accurately which is to be expected at this stage. He is writing in sentences and has a structure and order to his writing.

If motivation is the problem he needs to be writing for a purpose and with no pressure so that he can relax about the pace he is writing at. So, things like; plan to cook his favourite dinner but you need to buy the ingredients so get him to write the shopping list and maybe even a simple recipe so he can follow it to cook with you; If you are going away somewhere he could write a list of the things he needs to take and then perhaps keep a scrap book of things you do while you are there and encourage him to write about what he did; thank-you letters written in response to a gift or similar are another good one; if he wants to write more creatively look at things like mini books that he can create (google for a template to make one.

At the age of 6 writing a big block of text is likely to be intimidating so if he has something that he wants to write about like the history thing he needs to have a structure to follow to help him writing frames, storyboards etc are all good, or even just deciding the sentence he wants to write together and counting the words he needs before he attempts to write it.

Keep it brief, keep it interesting, keep the pressure off but provide lots of opportunities and encouragement where you can and remember its about his own level of achievement so if he doesn't usually write much indendantly but takes a piece of work in that has only a sentence written independantly, any teacher worth their salt will reward that appropriately to encourage him.

bibbetybobbityboo Thu 11-Apr-13 13:46:48

Mind mapping what he wants to write about together - you could do the writing for this to provide him with the key words he is going to need and remove the pressure of writing while he is coming up with the ideas - will help with the frustration of not getting things down quick enough too and will also help with structuring longer peices of work as he is doing more extended writing in the future.

lecce Thu 11-Apr-13 21:19:00

Thank you for all the replies.

As a secondary school English teacher it is embarrassing that so many suggestions are things I would do for pupils who are reluctant writers blush. It is so different when it is your own child and he is, of course, a lot younger than my pupils.

Unfortunately, he hates drawing so would not want to do his own cartoon strips but I will definitely have a look at those KS1 storyboards - sounds like something he would enjoy. And of course, now that someone else has suggested it, it is obvious that I should record his ideas for him blush.

I have tried and failed to get him to do shopping lists, postcards and the like - unless he is writing about a subject he loves and is interested in, he won't have it. I mean, he loves krispie cakes, but he's not interested in them as such, so would certainly not be persuaded to write a list of ingredients for them, even if I said we wouldn't make them if he didn't. It would turn into a bit of a tantrum and just wouldn't be worth it. The irony is, that the topics that do fascinate him seem to be too big for him write about at the monent, iyswim.

On a positive note, that does remind me of when I had a stab at teaching him letter recognition when he was three. He stubbornly refused and would say firmly, "I don't want to talk about letters, just read me the book!" He began reception only knowing a handful of letters by sight but is now in the top reading group. Maybe something along those lines will happen with his writing...

Thanks again for all the ideas and advice - I'll be having a proper look through at them and trying them out

Periwinkle007 Fri 12-Apr-13 07:42:25

if he doesn't like drawing his own pictures what about you draw some for him to write about or find some and print them out and he can write underneath them. He then has triggers in the picture to remind him what he is wanting to say

alanyoung Mon 15-Apr-13 22:10:59

Have you thought about getting him to tell you his story/ideas and record them with a mike/mobile phone etc? Then you can play them back and he can get them down on paper at his leisure.

It is worth remembering that when you hear professional writers speak they nearly always say just get your ideas down - don't worry about spelling, grammar etc - get the story down on paper. Then you can go back and redraft it properly later. I think this is good advice for all ages, even the very youngest writers. As adults we sometimes believe that everything should be done perfectly first time round, but it's not the way the real world works.

alanyoung Mon 15-Apr-13 22:15:24

It's very unusual to meet a young child who doesn't like drawing. Is he afraid of something? I think it might be a good idea to put him in a room one day with lots of paper and some crayons and walk off. You may be surprised at the results! By the way, if you want large sheets of paper, but some rolls of lining paper from your local DIY store. It's dead cheap so you can give your children large pieces. Rather like big bricks for small fingers.

Pendipidy Mon 15-Apr-13 22:20:41

Strikes me that is rather advanced. My dd can not write that well and she is just a month younger and regarded as above average in her above average class. What do you think is wrong with it for his age?

lougle Mon 15-Apr-13 22:43:03

DD2 is in Year 1 and I struggled to get her to write:

"Dear X

How are you? The weather is cold and wet today."

Not a word of a joke. There is no way she would use words such as 'mediterranean' or phrases like '10 remaining'.

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